My apologies to classstruggle. Communication, I find, is difficult without eye contact, as it were. As for Simmel and the other European sociologists of the classical period [Weber, Durkheim, Mannheim, et al.], I find them an endless source of inspiration and instruction, regardless of their official position on Marx or socialism. In this, I might note, I am following in Marx's footsteps. He was extremely respectful of those of his predecessors who were, in his view, serious thoughtful students of society -- Smith and Ricardo, for example, as contrasted with the egregious Nassau Senior and the other mental pygmies whom he grouped together as "vulgar economists." I would be very pleased if modern readers of Marx would follow his lead rather than acting like vestal virgins tending the sacred flame.
My sister and I split the check between us for the dinner, at which in addition to the old folks were Tobias and two lawyer friends, one of whom had come from Los Angeles for the hearing. By the way, I have not yet had an opportunity to talk to Tobias and hear his analysis of the oral arguments, but the always reliable and extremely knowledgeable Linda Greenhouse is cautiously optimistic, which I take as a good sign.
A propos Americans' democratic attitude toward lines [I am reminded of the lovely John Travolta movie, Michael, in which, playing the archangel Michael come to earth, he says at one point that it was he who invented standing in line], I contrast that with the French attitude. Two years ago Susie and I were in Paris for fete de la musique [I cannot enter diacritical marks on my blog] and went along to a transcendentally beautiful concert by the Tallis Singers in the Musee d'Orsay. Like all of the music on that magical summer solstice evening, it was free. However, in Socialist France, the notables were admitted first to the rows of chairs set up near the singers, while the rest of us common folk had to snag seats on the stone banquettes or sit on the floor. The French are very big on Liberty and Fraternity but have not yet quite got Equality under their belts in all matters social. On the other hand, the US Gini coefficient of income inequality is .408 and the French Gini coefficient is .327, so perhaps French social snobbery can be overlooked.